June 5, 2013
Guests: Jess McIntosh, Peter Beinart, Dana Milbank, Susan Milligan, Sean Trende, Jess McIntosh, Susan Milligan
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: In your face.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this. I don`t know if President Obama is mad
as hell, but he`s certainly not taking it anymore. Yesterday, he nominated
a trio of judges for the D.C. circuit court, the one right below the
Supreme Court. He did it knowing the Republicans would go ballistic. And
guess what? He did it anyway.
Well, today the president picked Susan Rice, the seat of the hurricane, as
the right wing is concerned, as this country`s national security adviser,
the person coordinating this country`s foreign, defense and overall
national security policy. She is going to be the one with the strong
defense -- she`s the one who made the strong defense on "MEET THE PRESS"
after Benghazi, and henceforth, she`s going to be the person with the
president`s ear on defending this country. It`s in your face, and I think
First of all, he`s right on these matters. The D.C. court of appeals has
three vacancies. He`s not packing the court, as the jackal pack is
barking, he`s doing his job of filling it.
Second, it`s a better narrative. Would you rather be the story here of the
jackals attacking, even some of the back-benchers piling on, or the story
of a tough-minded president whacking his enemies back with a stick? It`s
the smart move, and he`s making it.
What do you like better, by the way -- and this has nothing to do with
left-right politics -- a president who`s seen as weak or a president seen
as tough? Pretty simple. And by the way, that`s the simple American
answer is that Barack Obama is working it smart right now and forcing the
other side to take it. The dogs bark, the caravan moves on.
Howard Fineman is the editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group
and Peter Beinart is senior political writer for the DailyBeast.
Today the president did appoint Susan Rice to be his new national security
adviser. He praised her for her dedication and service. Let`s watch the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is at once passionate
and pragmatic. I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion
for justice and human dignity, but she`s also mindful that we have to
exercise our power wisely and deliberately.
Susan`s the consummate public servant, a patriot who puts her country
first. She is fearless. She is tough. She has a great tennis game and a
pretty good basketball game.
SUSAN RICE, INCOMING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Mr. President, thank you
so much. I`m deeply honored and humbled to serve our country as your
national security adviser. I`m proud to have worked so closely with you
for more than six years, and I`m deeply grateful for your enduring
confidence in me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I want to start with Peter on this. You know, it
looked to me like one of the times where a president is doing exactly what
he wants to do. They`re very close. She was his top adviser during the
campaign on foreign policy, has a great background, certainly, a Ph.D. from
Oxford, and of course, the role of assistant secretary for African affairs
way back under Clinton. She`s got a great resume.
He likes her, and he also is picking somebody that`s going to make the
others (INAUDIBLE) he`s just rattling their cage with this one.
PETER BEINART, DAILYBEAST: Right. I think the message is that Obama is no
longer afraid. I mean, I think it`s quite possible he wanted to appoint
Susan Rice to this job right at the beginning, but he was convinced he
needed James Jones, a guy he didn`t even know. Why? Because Jones was a
Marine general. So people say, You know what? He`s going to give you the
cover, the hawkish cover you`re going to need --
BEINART: -- with the military and the Republicans. He kept Robert
Gates, a Republican, as defense secretary, for basically the same reason.
Now I think Obama has said, You know what? I`ve -- they`ve -- they`ve
tried their best over four years, this post-Vietnam, I`m soft -- "Democrats
are soft" stuff. It doesn`t work. I beat Mitt Romney on foreign policy.
I can nominate my own people, and the Republicans can scowl, but the
country doesn`t trust them anymore, they trust me.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t there any Republican hesitation, Howard -- you and I have
watched this game for a long time -- hesitation about beating the hell out
of an African-American woman again? I mean, don`t they feel any hesitance
on just the gender and the ethnic front? Here they are, the old white
guys, kicking the hell out of another African-American candidate for
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well
MATTHEWS: Doesn`t (INAUDIBLE) say, Wait a minute, this isn`t going to look
good for the Republicans?
FINEMAN: Well, mostly, they don`t. Mostly, that doesn`t occur to them.
FINEMAN: It might possibly have occurred to John McCain, whose comments
FINEMAN: He said -- he said, Well, I disagree with the choice, but I`m
going to do my best to work with her. So he had the right, you know --
FINEMAN: He had the right tone --
FINEMAN: -- for that crowd. But to answer your specific question, most
of them, it doesn`t occur to --
MATTHEWS: Because we`re going to get a lot more on the show tonight about
women and the Republican Party, not just the rape, stupid comments last
time around, these stupid comments about how young guys are kind of
sexually aroused, or whatever. Therefore, there`s going to be a lot of
MATTHEWS: -- these stupid charges!
FINEMAN: Quickly, look at the people that the president has put forth
yesterday today and today in terms of gender and racial diversity.
MATTHEWS: Yes, two women --
FINEMAN: Two women --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think he`s saying, you know, Live with it, buddies.
Anyway, some Republicans showed no sign of being willing to let this
Benghazi thing against the congressman go -- or the new nominee for --
actually, the appointee now for national security adviser. Jason Chaffetz
won`t quit. He told the DailyBeast, quote, "She used her good name to try
to convince the American people of this bogus story. She has to take some
responsibility for that. The president`s obviously not holding her
accountable. It`s what is so troubling about the entire Benghazi incident.
People are getting promoted for a job poorly done."
And take a look at the ridiculous statement from Senator Rand Paul, who`s
getting more ridiculous every day, today on -- guess where? Fox. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the president`s been struggling to
regain the moral authority to lead the nation, and this doesn`t really
encourage anyone, to reappoint or to promote, basically, the person who is
guilty of misleading us over the Benghazi tragedy. I can`t imagine, one
(ph), that we would keep -- keeping Ambassador Rice in any significant
position, much less promoting her to an important position.
How are they going to have the authority for people to believe what they`re
saying when he`s promoting someone who directly and deliberately misled the
public over Benghazi? The Benghazi tragedy`s really not going to go away
until we have some answers. Really, why was there this elaborate cover-up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I used to think Rand Paul had at least a philosophy
that you could justify, sort of the Ayn Rand, objectivism, and now he`s
just -- just a pol. I mean, look at this. The president is struggling to
regain the moral authority -- the president`s numbers on personal ethics
are excellent. There`s no struggle here about his personal integrity.
Anyway, also on Fox, Karl Rove -- talking about integrity -- the man who
said President Obama didn`t win the election, even after Fox called the
race, went after the president this time for his choice of -- obviously, of
Rice, also questioned Ambassador Rice`s -- well, why not? -- honesty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: We saw today a
statement by the president`s people that he was going to get more partisan
and that he was going to get more in the face of Republicans. And this is
-- this is clearly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first example of that, do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- first of a wave or --
ROVE: -- one of the examples of it. And look, I don`t understand it.
She`s a capable, able person. But she went out and lied. Not only did she
go on television in order to -- you know, less than two months before the
election and tell a lie in order to protect the president`s political
position, but she did so at the risk of undermining our relationship with
the president -- with Libya!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Peter, this new word "lie" now -- of course, Jay Carney, the
president`s much-respected press secretary, is a "paid liar." Susan Rice
is a liar. The discourse coming from that side -- I don`t use that word
liar, I don`t like it being used because it gets to motive, and you never
know what`s in another person`s heart. You never do know unless you go in
a court of law where the person actually perjured themselves and lied
against their knowledge.
How do these people get away with talking like this, I mean, anywhere, even
BEINART: Because I think they`re talking to themselves and they`re the
passionate minority of people in this country, who really do believe this.
The problem is, it`s a clear minority and probably getting smaller, as we
found out during the election.
I think what`s happened is all of these scandals have given Republicans a
kind of -- allowed them to believed that, somehow, because Obama`s
Democrats are going to implode and Hillary Clinton will be brought down by
this, they`re not going to have to do the really wrenching hard work of
figuring out how they actually start to attract the new America
MATTHEWS: OK --
BEINART: -- that`s emerging. They`re trying -- they`re taking cover
from that in these scandals.
MATTHEWS: Peter, again to you. Why do they get the idea -- if it isn`t
ethnic -- and I`ll just leave the possibility that it`s not. Why do they
just assume evil on the part of Obama?
I mean, he`s raised -- his whole life has been crystal clear and clean as a
whistle and transparent. We know his whole life through all the great
excellent education he`s had, the good work -- pro bono work he`s done
through his life. He`s never been a money grubber. He`s never doing
anything wrong in his life legally, ethically, whatever. His family is
picture-perfect, the way he`s raised those daughters, the -- everything is
clean as a whistle.
And yet they just refer to him as evil. They just refer to him as -- I`ve
got to believe it`s ethnic with these people. They just got a problem with
this guy being president.
BEINART: Well --
MATTHEWS: Is there any other evidence to justify why they keep calling him
a bad man? And that`s what they do.
BEINART: Well, I think on Benghazi in particular, the Republicans are
really desperate to believe that Barack Obama doesn`t take terrorism
seriously. And so that -- it plays into that narrative. And I think
that`s why Benghazi is so appealing for them because it plays into a larger
narrative that despite the fact that he killed bin Laden, that actually,
basically, he`s a guy who`s a typical liberal who doesn`t recognize
terrorism when it`s staring him in the face. I think that`s why Benghazi
is so much -- it`s just catnip for them.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think he sits, by the way, with Tom Donilon, who can be
tough, too --
MATTHEWS: -- a tough pol and a tough public official, as we all know.
Those guys went after the bad guys on that list of al Qaeda people.
Anyway, earlier this week on the House floor, first-term Oklahoma
Republican Jim Bridenstine delivered a blistering attack on the president.
After listing the so-called scandals, from the IRS to Benghazi, he had this
to say. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM BRIDENSTINE (R), OKLAHOMA: Mr. Speaker, the president`s
dishonesty, incompetence, vengefulness and lack of moral compass lead many
to suggest that he is not fit to lead. The only problem is that his vice
president is equally unfit and even more embarrassing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What is this, Howard, this villainization of the president of
the United States, on the basis of what? They don`t like his health care
FINEMAN: Well --
MATTHEWS: They don`t like his face? What is it about him?
FINEMAN: Well, I think it`s desperation. And as Peter said, it`s partly a
way to --
MATTHEWS: These back-benchers --
FINEMAN: -- avoid the hard --
MATTHEWS: -- talking about the president of the United States --
FINEMAN: Well, they`re trying to impress -- they`re trying to impress the
hardest of the hard core of their base, not just the base, but the hard
core of their base.
MATTHEWS: Yes, his district went 66 --
FINEMAN: Of course.
MATTHEWS: -- for Romney.
FINEMAN: And what`s interesting to me is that the president has decided,
To heck with it, to ignore them.
MATTHEWS: The jackals.
FINEMAN: Yes, just to ignore them and to pursue his own vision of foreign
policy. Don`t forget, he just gave that speech where he talked about sort
of the post-war -- post-terror war age, and he`s picked in Susan Rice and
Samantha Power, two advisers that go way back to the beginning of his
national campaign, who believe his vision of how to proceed in the world.
And he`s basically saying, The heck with them -- the president`s saying,
The heck with the right-wing hard-core base. I`m going to pursue my vision
of foreign policy the way I enunciated it in Cairo in 2009 --
FINEMAN: -- the way I did the speech last month. I`m going to go try
and do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s certainly the day of the jackal right now. Thank
you, Howard, and thank you, Peter Beinart. I mean, I`ve never seen this
kind of carping and negativity.
Coming up: Who`s going to hurt more from all this so-called scandal
politics, President Obama or the Republicans? I think we know. We`ve got
some new poll numbers on just how Americans view these so-called scandals
and how the Republicans are following that old GOP adage, start each day
with a prayer, end it with a probe.
Also, when you hear Republicans these days talk about women, you`d be
excused if you thought you`d gone back in time. In the last day alone,
we`ve heard two GOP senators and one governor say things that sound more
like 1913 than 2013.
And Chris Christie, the politician praised for being above politics, is
getting hammered for playing politics. What do you think? Anyway, I think
it will cost New Jersey $2 million a day to have a senator elected in
October, rather than in November.
I`ve done the math. I`ve checked with the Senate. There`s only six
working days in the Senate between those two days. I just checked. That`s
$2 million a day, Governor.
Finally, another Republican makes the mistake of saying aloud what he
really thinks, that Republican would be actually really prefer it if
African-Americans just stayed home on election day. I`m glad somebody on
that side finally said what the game was, keep them out of the voting
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama`s heading to Massachusetts next week to campaign
for U.S. Congressman Ed Markey. Markey`s running for the Senate, of
course, in that special election against Republican Gabriel Gomez, and we
have new polling on the race. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to a new poll from New England College, Markey`s up by 12. It`s
Markey 52, Gomez 40. But with Obama in the -- on the way, Democrats look
like they`re taking -- not taking any chances. By the way, Markey and
Gomez will meet tonight in the first of three debates before the June 25th
By the way, I think it`s a good time to vote your beliefs because if you
don`t vote your beliefs in this special election up there, don`t expect
somebody you elect to be thinking about your beliefs later.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Is the game of scandal politics now
backfiring on Republicans? An amazing idea. And one thing`s for sure, the
Republican Party has put all their eggs in that scandal basket, if you
Here`s a sampling of the recent accusations. Darrell Issa, the White House
is made up of paid liars. Mitch McConnell, it`s built on a culture of
intimidation. Hal (sic) Rogers, they`re assembling a Nixonian enemies
Why such outrageous rhetoric? Well, it turns out they have nothing else to
talk about. Or put more simply, thanks to divisions within the party, they
have nothing else they want to talk about.
And there is the problem there, and because it might not be Benghazi or the
Department of Justice or even the IRS which determines their political
fate, instead, it`s an issue where they`ve shown little or no leadership,
Not that Democrats have been a shining beacon of economic hope, but at
least they`ve put together a budget, something party leaders are slowly
realizing could score them much-needed political points, according to
Politico, in a great piece today.
And in "The Washington Post," Dana Milbank, who sits here with me, writes
that the Republican Party is acting like it`s 1999 -- you remember back in
Clinton`s time, a time when, quote, "The indicators kept pointing to a
booming economy, and support for President Clinton climbed steeply through
1998 as House Republicans marched toward impeaching him. But in terms of
scandal, House Republican so far have significantly less to work with right
now than they did in `98. Republicans, after fighting Obama`s economic
policies for four years, may have no better option than to focus on scandal
now that the economy is rebounding. So the big question is, will Democrats
see the political benefits from the economy if it really takes off?"
Dana Milbank joins us now, along with MSNBC political analyst David Corn of
Dana, great writing and thinking about this. I do see -- what you call
green sprouts -- not everybody is in the stock market, but everybody
watching this show up to 65, if they`re lucky, has a 401(k) of some kind.
They have some investments. And that market`s almost doubled --
DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well --
MATTHEWS: -- in recent years -- I mean, almost doubling your wealth in
that kind of asset. That`s real. You also point out that consumer
confidence is the highest it`s been in years.
MILBANK: Right. It`s a whole bunch of things all together, so consumer
confidence, housing, the jobs picture has gotten better. Now, we`ve had
false starts before in this economy, but it`s beginning to look as if this
one is for real. That`s a very ominous position for the Republicans to be
in because there`s not much they can do about it. The incumbent president
and his party are going to get credit for it. So what do they do?
MATTHEWS: They aren`t talking it down, like they were. Now they`re
talking scandal. They didn`t even bother talking it down --
MILBANK: You can`t talk it down if people recognize that it`s getting
better. So you`re left with talking about scandal. Well, that`s great if
you get a Watergate or something. But if it`s just a bunch of noise about
what somebody in Cincinnati did with the IRS, it`s not going to win you an
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But -- but --
MATTHEWS: Well, you know I`m a nut on history. And one of the things --
they`ve made this mistake a couple times before. You pointed they made a
mistake under Clinton. They made the mistake when they came back into
power after World War II. They spent the whole Congress they took over,
the 80th or whatever it was, between `47 and `48, all they did -- they said
they began every day with a prayer, ended it with a probe. There was --
MATTHEWS: Somebody said it was stop and shop on the Hill. Everywhere you
went, there was a hearing, and that`s what`s going on now.
CORN: And if you go back to the Bill Clinton years, you`ll find there was
a real scandal. I mean, now they are having trouble connecting the White
House to the IRS scandal and even to the Benghazi scandal --
MATTHEWS: They didn`t have trouble connecting --
CORN: They went right to the Oval Office, and on the floor of the Oval
Office! And even then, Bill Clinton`s approval ratings at the end of `98
hit 70, the low 70s. The more they screamed about impeachment, the higher
his numbers went up. So even when you had a real scandal --
MATTHEWS: Just think, if they only knew that Newt was messing around at
the same time he was leading the impeachment --
MATTHEWS: If they only knew that!
CORN: Bill Clinton`s numbers would have gone over 100! I mean, they can
only go up and up. And yet -- but the other thing here now is this is the
party, the Republican Party -- they don`t believe in government, so they
don`t really believe in doing anything. And they`re divided amongst
themselves on what -- two key issues, on immigration -- they can`t come to
CORN: -- and on the budget, they`re fighting amongst themselves about
going to conference, this very wonky issue. So they can`t --
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s --
CORN: -- do anything!
MATTHEWS: -- look at these numbers now. President Obama`s job approval
numbers are holding up, surprisingly, despite all the mud being thrown. In
a new or recent NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out there, he notches at 48
percent job approval. That`s basically unchanged since April.
But as they say, the devil is in the details. Check this. This is problem
for him. In the current environment, his base has rallied. Democrats are
for him. But among independents, the president`s approval rating is
plummeting right now, just 29 percent in today`s poll, down from 37 percent
last month, 41 percent in April.
So independents, who generally are skeptical, I would think, of government,
moreso than Democrats, right? And they don`t like this IRS crap. I don`t
like it, either.
down from 37 percent last month, 41 percent in April.
So, independents, who generally are skeptical, I would think, of
government, more so than Democrats, right?
MATTHEWS: And they don`t like this IRS crap. I don`t like it, either.
MATTHEWS: But they always pin it on the president. But they have pinned
it on the government. The government of the United States isn`t looking
MILBANK: Right. Well, who is an independent is a shifting thing. So, I
don`t think we should read too much into that, because the president`s top
line number is staying pretty high there.
But you certainly -- if people are angry at government, that gets taken out
on the incumbent party. But if people are pleased with what they`re
feeling in the economy, that, as David was suggesting during the 1990s, is
a much more stronger effect. Yes, they may be irritated about the IRS, but
if they just got a promotion at work or they got a raise, boy, they`re
going to like this president, no matter what else he`s been doing.
CORN: But there`s also something else.
MATTHEWS: Is that happening, by the way?
Ed Schultz territory here. Is it possible that they`re out -- are the
unions getting a little feistier? Are they starting to make demands to try
to get higher wages? What is going on --
CORN: I don`t know if that`s turned yet. I think people are still very
cautious about the sprouts and about their own positions.
There`s not a lot of economic security in terms of what people are feeling,
although things are better.
CORN: But the other thing, too, is, people are looking at Washington.
Washington looks really silly now, these scandals, nothing being done. The
president can`t pass a gun safety bill that`s supported by 80 percent.
And I do believe that the public by and large blames the president, rightly
or wrongly, for what it thinks about what is happening in Washington. So,
the Republicans, all they have to do is make things look ugly. And they
don`t care about --
CORN: And it brings down the president`s standing
MATTHEWS: Dana, when are they going to start paying a price for sitting on
their butts and just having hearings?
MILBANK: Right. Well --
MATTHEWS: And doing nothing to do with the economy?
I always ask people. Lately, I have been thinking about it. OK, we may
have some problems with Obamacare. What`s the Republican health care plan?
We may have a problem with the president, because I think it should be much
heftier, but what`s the Republican job plan? They don`t even feel the need
to have an advertisement for anything.
MILBANK: We now have five House committees looking into Benghazi and three
House committees at least, by my count, looking into the IRS, including
Ways and Means, which perhaps could be doing tax reform.
MATTHEWS: Do voters want to pay $170,000 a year plus expenses for their
member of Congress to spend their time doing this?
MILBANK: Well, they`re disgusted with Washington as a whole, and I think
that`s part of the Republican strategy.
You have Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,
saying it`s not really the specifics of any of these scandals. It`s the
whole atmosphere of scandal. That`s what Republicans are trying to create.
MATTHEWS: But they`re creating --
MILBANK: They are creating it, and that`s to their advantage.
CORN: This is what you talked about the other day. We talked about this
CORN: They just keep trying to -- it`s basically insinuation. There`s a
scandal. Well, the details don`t matter, but scandal, and there`s a
scandal here and deception and intimidation. They use these big words
without being able to prove them. Darrell Issa talks about releasing the
CORN: He doesn`t do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, it didn`t work with Clinton, obviously. Bill Clinton`s
approval rating held up remarkably well back in the `90s, considering the
political environment we`re talking about, when Republicans were pummelling
him every night.
And he owes a large part of that to the booming economy. Take a look at
this chart. Even in the throes of the Lewinsky scandal back in the `90s
there, his approval, Bill Clinton`s rating never went much above 30 --
disapproval, above 35.
So, even in all the heat he was taking, he wasn`t getting jammed by the
voter. And what likely saved Clinton was this, an unemployment rate which
dropped to around 4 percent during that time. Now take a look at Obama`s
approval rating. It tracks fairly consistently with the economy and
unemployment too. And even though the economy, the economic recovery
hasn`t fully translated into jobs, here`s the hope for him.
Home prices are up 12 percent. That means a lot. It means you can sell a
house. Over the past year, the stock market has boomed by nearly 60
percent. If you have a 401(k), you`re saving money in the market, it`s
gone up a lot.
Since 2009, consumer confidence, six-year high, as you pointed out in your
piece today. People are taking notice. In an NBC/"Wall Street Journal"
poll, 36 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with the economy.
And that doesn`t seem very high, except it`s the highest reading since
MATTHEWS: We have been through a gloomy period.
CORN: It beats the alternative, right?
MATTHEWS: Thirty-six beats everything.
MILBANK: In our "Washington Post" poll, more people than in recent years
are saying they expect their own situation to improve.
What`s not important is where we are now. It`s where they`re going to be
right before the midterm elections and where they`re going to be in `16.
So if these green shoots actually mean something, you don`t want to be on
the other side of that, of a booming economy. There`s no winning hand for
CORN: Except you can`t get away from the fact that the Republicans, as
Democrats do when they have a chance, have so gerrymandered the districts,
that only a few districts will be in a play.
MATTHEWS: Don`t be a whiner about this.
CORN: No, I`m not being a whiner.
MATTHEWS: No, because here`s the problem. They`re not going to have
another redistricting until the next --
MATTHEWS: The Democrats blew their chances by not taking 2010 seriously --
CORN: Right. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: -- and let all these guys like Scott Walker all came in -- and
Rick Scott -- they all came in with legislation.
CORN: It gives the Republicans -- it gives the Republicans in the House
particularly in these districts --
MATTHEWS: What`s good complaining about it?
CORN: No, I`m saying it gives them the luxury of continuing down this
crazy path without having to act reasonably, as you keep expecting them to
MATTHEWS: I just want to -- you know, the good guys have to win.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Dana Milbank. And you can`t change the past.
Spilt milk, David Corn.
MATTHEWS: But next time, I hope the Democrats or somebody pays attention
to these redistrictings.
Coming up, Steve Colbert looks back at the political career of Michele
Bachmann. This should be hilarious. He`s just back to work.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL and now to the "Sideshow."
First, after a week off, Stephen Colbert returns to the news that Michele
Bachmann won`t be running for reelection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": She broke the news in a Web
video recorded at, I believe, the Sears portrait studio.
COLBERT: So, tonight, folks, we say goodbye to Michele Bachmann and look
fondly back at some of her very moments.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The very founders that wrote those
documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.
There isn`t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon
dioxide is a harmful gas.
BACHMANN: Our founders thought taxation without representation was bad.
What would they think of representation with taxation?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
COLBERT: I will miss her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Next, remember all those voting restrictions pushed by Republicans during
the last election, things like requiring specific photo I.D.s and less
early voting? Specifically affected minority populations, of course, that
were, surprise, more likely to vote Democrat.
Well, we turn to a Dallas County Republican Party event last month. The
progressive group Battleground Texas posted what one Tea Party leader said
His name is Ken Emanuelson. He said -- this is what he said when a local
bishop asked what the Republican Party was doing for African-American
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the Republicans doing to get black people to
KEN EMANUELSON, TEA PARTY LEADER: Well, I`m going to be real honest with
you. The -- the Republican Party doesn`t want black people to vote if
they`re going to vote 9-1 for Democrats.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Don`t you love candor? There you have it. The solution to
losing the black vote is losing black voters. Emanuelson said later that
he had misspoke. What do you think he really meant to say?
MATTHEWS: What do you think? What he said.
Next, the case for Steven Seagal. Members of Congress recently traveled to
Russia to investigate ties one of the Boston Marathon bombers may have had
to that country. Strangely, the delegation made room for actor Steven
Seagal, yes, the star of those 1990s action movies like "Out For Justice"
and "Under Siege."
Well, apparently Seagal was invited because of his friendship with Russian
leaders, but California Republican Dana Rohrabacher went a step further.
Here he is with CNN`s Wolf Blitzer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You also had the actor Steven Seagal on your
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes.
BLITZER: What was his role?
ROHRABACHER: Well, Steven Seagal, because he`s a black belt and a very
well-respected actor, and because of his black belt and karate and things,
he`s gotten to know many of the leaders of Russia, including Putin, and was
able to use that influence to make see that we got to talk to the very top
Sometimes, actors can actually go out and, other than just act, they can
actually do good things. I worked for one. His name was Ronald Reagan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Steven Seagal, huh? Putin likes the rough stuff, doesn`t
he? I can`t say it`s a big surprise.
Finally, a big moment for the Michigan State Senate yesterday, but only if
you`re an avid pirate enthusiast. Believe it or not, the Michigan State
Senate adopted a resolution to officially recognize International Talk Like
a Pirate Day.
Well, State Senator Roger Kahn took to the floor in celebration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER KAHN (R), MICHIGAN STATE SENATOR: Thank you, matey.
Today, we have passed Speak Like a Pirate Day. It`s time and now recognize
that the state of Michigan acknowledges this holiday and grants it the
recognition it truly deserves. As a Great Lakes state, one of Michigan`s
main duties should be promoting worthy maritime initiatives. And this, of
course, is one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Don`t you love babbitry?
Anyway, earlier this year, President Obama said that it was politics 101
that presidents don`t look very good wearing stuff on their heads. Well,
the same might someday be said for applying pirate paraphernalia during a
speech on your Senate floor. Hmm.
Up next, we have got three more reminders that Republicans are in a time
warp when it comes to women. This won`t surprise you, but it will educate
you, what`s coming here.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MARY THOMPSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Mary Thompson with your CNBC
A broad sell-off today on the heels of some mixed economic reports and
ongoing concerns about the future of the Fed`s bond-buying program, the Dow
Jones industrial average tumbling 216 points, the S&P 500 sliding 22, and
the Nasdaq falling 43.
Private sector job growth coming in weaker than expected in May. We get
the government`s numbers on the jobs front on Friday. In the meantime,
service sector activity and factory orders continue to expand at a modest
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
You might be forgiven if, when it comes to women, you think Republicans are
living in the 19th century. Consider some of the comments at yesterday`s -
- yesterday`s Senate Armed Services hearing on sexual misconduct in the
military. Some Republicans seemed to missed point that the issue was the
crime of sexual assault and rape, of course, in the military.
First up, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: We have got to do a better job of
screening folks before they come in.
And the other thing we have to remember, is we think about making changes
to the UCMJ in this respect. The young folks that are coming into each of
your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, that`s -- the
level -- the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility
for these types of things to occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio, who is co-
chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, rebuked the senator
in a statement that reads in part -- quote -- "It`s simple. Criminals are
responsible for sexual assaults, not hormones."
But a few hours later, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama joined the hearing
and introduced the issue of pornography, information which he had been
provided by the group Morality in the Media. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Mr. Chairman, I just had a letter and a
document here was given to me from Morality in the Media.
Chuck -- Pat Trueman used to be in the Department of Justice. I knew him
when he was there. Points out that a picture here of a newsstand in an Air
Force base exchange with, you know, sexually explicit magazines being sold.
So we live in a culture that`s awash in sexual activity. If it`s not sold
on base, it`s right off base. There are videos and so forth that can be
obtained. And it recreate -- it creates some problems, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, some Republicans -- you just heard them -- appear to be
unable to absorb the reality that comments like these are considered tone-
deaf, in fact, crazy, in fact, at the very least, and compound the problems
Republicans have had with many voters, especially women.
Susan Milligan is an old friend of mine. She is contributing of the "U.S.
News & World Report." And Jess McIntosh is spokesperson for EMILY`s List,
which works to elect women to Congress.
This, by the way, should make it easier for you, Jess, by the way.
Here`s the thing. Here`s the thing. Both those guys are Southerners.
They represent states, Alabama and Georgia, that -- where it used to be a
capital crime. You were hanged by the law if you committed rape. Rape is
not something you had a bad day. It`s a -- almost a capital crime. And
only because of sympathy of some kind, we decided not to make it a capital
It`s not saying, hey, cutie, what are you wearing today? It`s not bad
office behavior. It`s absolutely criminal at the far extent of the law,
right near murder. And these guys say, oh, it`s the girly magazines they
got at the base or whatever -- or the guys are horny.
Give me a break. What kind of talk are these guys engaged in?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Every once in a while, Republicans forget
that they are catastrophically bad --
MATTHEWS: They`re on television.
MCINTOSH: -- at talking about these issues.
And this week has been one of those weeks. And you think they would have
learned their lesson after 2012, when women voters turned out by historic
margins for Democrats.
MATTHEWS: But they heard the testimony, Susan. They know it`s about rape.
And, by the way, assault is assault. Whether it`s sexual assault --
SUSAN MILLIGAN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: -- it`s assault. It`s a serious felony, five or six years in
prison. Why do they say I`ll just hit the guys get a little outs of hand,
little, you know, horsing around. What are they talking about?
MILLIGAN: The subtext of this is that they still think of the military as
a man`s domain. They really don`t want women. There a lot of the men in
the military don`t want women there.
All of the subtext of that comment is, well, it`s dangerous for you, you
really shouldn`t do it you know, this is a very male environment. You
know, you`re going to turn their heads, they`re not going to be able to
control themselves and you might get assaulted.
I mean, it`s bad enough they don`t know now a days that rape is not
sexually motivated. It`s a crime of domination and power --
MATTHEWS: I mean, there is a reason. One reason is the idea is one of the
best in the world, even though small. It`s had women, I remember back in
the `70s, sitting there in the movie theater with a woman next to me with
an Uzi. I mean, it`s -- that hasn`t hurt them any in Israel.
MCINTOSH: I`m just glad that the Armed Services Committee is not an all-
male dominated world right now. We have a record number of women sitting
on that panel and it`s hearing them offer their perspective it just goes to
show how much --
MATTHEWS: You`re game, though. Every time someone talks about legitimate
rape, let`s begin by -- here`s some of the greatest hits in recent years,
in fact the last year, that have not exactly been politically correct or
certainly endeared (ph) of the women voters.
Remember Todd Akin`s assessment that women don`t usually get pregnant from
rape because, quote, "If it`s a legitimate rape," in other words, "she`s
telling the truth, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing
Darrell Issa infuriated women when his House Oversight and Government
Hearing on religious liberty and birth control convened a panel control
with no women on it. This led one Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to ask
incredulously, where are the women?
And who can forget Santorum supporter Foster Friess lamenting all the
hubbub of contraception, and on a lame attempt to the joke saying, you
know, back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the girls
put it between their knees.
As recently as this week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant appeared to
blame working mothers for mediocre educational outcomes in the U.S. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: To tell the truth, you know, I think
parents became both parents started working. And the mom is in the
workplace, it`s not a bad thing, I`m going to get in trouble and I can just
see. I can see the emails tomorrow.
But now, both parents are working. They`re pursuing their careers, it`s a
great American story now, that women are certainly in the workplace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it`s the mother`s place to teach them to read?
BRYANT: No, no, but I think there was the loving, nurturing opportunity
that both parents had a little bit of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you can argue that point but you`re going to lose the
audience. It`s a point of view.
Mary Jordan, who`s been sitting here, she`s been a reporter for the
"Washington Post" for the last quarter century and she`s been raising kids.
Does he know who he`s talking to when he does this kind of stuff, the women
work outside the home?
MILLIGAN: No, and I think that this is a problem that the Republican Party
is having for a period of time. For a period of time I thought, well, they
have a different view on what women should be doing. And they want it to
Now I think they actually have no idea what women --
MATTHEWS: They don`t like women`s call. That`s the bottom line.
MILLIGAN: No. But they don`t even know how women live now. Whether it`s
Mitt Romney saying, well, you have to be flexible when you hire women
because they need to be home at 5:00 to cook dinner, I don`t know any woman
who is home at 5:00. Or whether it`s people talking about women as if, you
know, well, men they`re sexual aggressors and women just want to get
married and we have to worry about them tempting the men.
I mean, they have no idea what women`s lives are like nowadays.
MCINTOSH: There`s a real political price. That whole litany that you just
went through, as that was happening last cycle, Emily`s List which supports
pro-choice Democratic women, quintupled our membership.
MATTHEWS: By the way, it`s your gag real. You can`t lose with this. You
win every election.
MCINTOSH: We do. And we`re going to.
MATTHEWS: OK. Susan Milligan, thank you. And, Jess McIntosh, thank you
for joining us. Good to have you on.
Up next, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under fire from perhaps the
usual suspects, but not a bad charge. He moved an election up by three or
four weeks, by the way, at the cost of something like $13 million. And
guess what, the new senator who gets elected in October rather than
November will serve through six Senate days of session, at the cost of $2
million a day.
So it may be a good thing for the governor, not necessarily a good thing
for the pocketbook of New Jersey.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, opponents of President Obama`s health care reform law are
vastly outspending supporters of the law in ads. Take a look at this chart
from Kantar Media comparing ad spending in races for Senate, House and the
In Senate races, that`s the bar on the right, more than $150 million has
been spent. And as you can see, in red, all but a fraction of that has
been spent on anti-Obama care ads.
OK. Same with the House, where the anti-Obamacare and spending dwarfs that
of the law`s supporters. This explains the mood out there.
And in the presidential race, the law`s critics are outspending supporters
by a margin of more than 5-1. Again, it`s how you`re hearing about this
issue of Obamacare.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is facing the expected partisan heat for
his decision to hold a special election in October to replace the late
Senator Frank Lautenberg. That election will be separate from the general
election three weeks later, which comes in November, when Christie himself
will be on the ballot. The move means Christie will not have to share the
ballot with a powerful Democrat like Newark`s Cory Booker, and that could
make it easier for him to get what he wants, a big landslide victory come
Newspapers in New Jersey went after the fiscally conservative Christie for
the cost of that decision. They say $24 million to the primary in special
elections, with headlines like "Special Elections" with a dollar sign as an
S, and a "$24 million special vote" there.
"The Star Ledger," a paper that endorsed the independent candidate in 2009
against Chris Christie and his opponent Jon Corzine wrote a scathing
editorial that reads, in part, "This is naked self interest. And as
skillful as the governor is at political spin, that fact is obvious to
Well, Christie, though, defended himself in a press conference yesterday
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I don`t know what the cost is and I
quite frankly don`t care. I don`t think you can put a price tag on what it
costs to put someone in the United States Senate and I will do whatever I
need to do to make sure those costs are covered, because all the people in
the state of New Jersey will benefit from it and we`re not going to be
penny-wise and pound foolish around here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK. Christie did the smart politics, you might say, for him.
That is, if he runs for president, nobody will remember today`s carping by
My colleague, Steve Kornacki, hosts "UP" on MSNBC weekend mornings, and
Sean Trende is the senior elections analyst for "Real Clear Politics".
Gentlemen, thank you.
First of all, I`ve done the calculation. I`ve called the people of the
Senate. What`s going to happen is, because of this election being held in
October, being held three or four months before the normal time, when
Christie is running on November 5, six Senate days of session will occur.
In other words, now calculating $24 million for the cost of these
elections, we`ll be able to get a person in there or a woman in there,
enough time to vote, six times on the floor, if there are votes those days.
That`s $4 million a day, Steve, to have a senator come in a month early.
I think that`s hard to explain if you`re Governor Christie and he`s good at
explaining things but 4 million bucks a day to have a senator on the floor
when probably nothing big is going to come up.
STEVE KORNACKI, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI" HOST: Right. I mean, it almost
makes you think this isn`t actually about having somebody from New Jersey
in the Senate on October 23rd or --
MATTHEWS: You`re laughing. You`re laughing.
KORNACKI: He does have -- I mean, he`s being disingenuous. Clearly, if
you want to understand what Chris Christie`s motive is, it`s this: if you
have a Senate race that occurs on the same day as the gubernatorial race,
he`s sharing the ballot with Cory Booker, who`s got popularity that`s very
similar to Chris Christie`s. Now, that doesn`t mean that having Cory
Booker as a Democratic candidate is going to endanger Chris Christie and
he`s suddenly not a shoo in to win re-election. He`s in very good shape
What it does mean is the entire New Jersey state legislature is up for re-
election this year and, right now, Republicans have an opportunity, they
have not had since 1985, when Tom Cain, Sr. won reelection with 70 percent
of the vote, to carry in big numbers of Republican candidates to the
assembly in the state senate and to give Christie the kind of coalition in
the legislature that he can use in 2014 and 2015 to pass an agenda that he
can go and brag about in 2016.
MATTHEWS: Sean, do you know whose name appears at the top of the ballot?
Is it governor or senator in New Jersey? Because it would be much more
concerning to him if it`s senator at the top, because Cory Booker will get
a big vote, assuming he`s the candidate.
Is this a concern because of the ballot position? What`s going on here?
SEAN TRENDE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Yes, I don`t know about the ballot
position question. But I think something that Steve is overlooking is that
if Cory Booker is on the ballot with him, the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee is going to be investing as well. And if Booker and the
DSCC can turn out an extra 100,000 extra Democrats, that turn a 20-point
Christie win to a 10-point Christie win, really changes the dynamics of the
MATTHEWS: Do you think that`s the coattail of the direction, it would go
again Christie? It wouldn`t just be something that happens after people
vote for Christie.
TRENDE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, people are going to turn out to vote for
Booker and they are going to check the vote probably for the Democratic
MATTHEWS: Well, the good thing going for Cory Booker, if he`s the
candidate, Steve, is that we don`t have any African-Americans in the United
States Senate, which I think is a disgrace. It`s one of the reasons why I
wrote for Michael Steele when he ran, because I think he ought to have
some. It`s absurd in our country. It`s absurd, Steve.
KORNACKI: Well, and that`s first of all, just to answer your question --
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, we`ve got Tim Scott from South Carolina. He`s been
KORNACKI: This would be -- Cory Booker would be the only elected African
in the Senate. You also have Mo Callan from Massachusetts right now, which
will change in a few weeks.
By the way, the state law in New Jersey would put the Senate election first
if you have concurrent elections. So, Booker would have been running ahead
But, right, there is an issue there for Democrats in New Jersey where
there`s going to be a primary now. Frank Pallone, congress from the shore,
says he wants to run. Rush Holt, a congressman from the Princeton area,
says he wants to run.
And again, I think one of the factors -- I think Booker`s popularity is
just in a different league among Democrats than theirs. But I think that
is one of the factors that`s at play within Democratic Party that`s hey,
our track record hasn`t been --
MATTHEWS: Only one guy could beat -- if you have two or three congressmen
running against, let`s go back to Sean here, if you have two or three
congressmen running against Cory Booker in that primary, Cory Booker he
wins for sure if he divides the opposition.
TRENDE: Yes, absolutely. If there`s some kind of Booker vote out there,
which I don`t really know that there is to begin with, having it divided
three ways makes it a virtual lock that Booker would win.
MATTHEWS: So, is this going to hurt Christie running for president, this
decision to basically guarantee, Steve? Hard politics, what was the smart
move for him? Was this a smart move, separating the election?
KORNACKI: My guess is that this is a smart move. The calculation is the
grief you`re going to take for doing this, is that going to cause more or
less damage and the damage that`s going to be caused by having Cory Booker
on the ballot and hurting down ballot candidates?
MATTHEWS: Sean, same question to you, do you know? What`s the smart move?
What he did or not did?
TRENDE: Smart move is what he did. He gets a big win, maybe bring some
coattails into legislature so he can move more things through in the next
session, outweighs the harm that might be done by this.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thanks to Sean. Thanks, Sean Trende. Thanks for coming
on. Thank you, Steve, as always.
We`ll be back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
I sometimes worry that I`m not keeping up with the times. I don`t know
anything about the current music scene. I can`t even tell you much about
the current generation of movie actors right now, though I do know a number
of truly superior young actors like Jennifer Lawrence.
But when I hear some of the Republicans in the Congress talking, I have
this feeling I`m Mr. Today, Mr. State-of-the Art, on American culture.
Why would a senator say that rape is understandable because boys are
sexually excited during the years during their late teens and early
Of course they are, but what`s that got to do with rape and assault -- a
sexual assault? What does it say about the human life to say something
like the senator said?
And what does it say that you blame rape and, again assault cases, here
sexual assault, on the presence of, quote, "sexually explicit magazines."
Every airport`s magazine rack loaded with women provocatively photographed.
Does that justify or would it explain sexual violence up in the airline?
These guys, that`s all I got to say. And they shouldn`t be talking. They
talk about rape and vaginal probes and all kinds of stuff that they would
better off not even talking about.
A lot of us say we`ve evolved on issues like marriage equality. I have.
Hell, most of the country has.
These guys come across as far further back -- I`d say really back in that
evolutionary history of ours. Do you think, we might just be talking the
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for watching.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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